Democrats encouraged by infrastructure discussion
Transportation funding solutions needed to ensure economic stability and growth
MADISON – Wisconsin’s deteriorating road and bridge conditions are drawing national attention and putting pressure on Gov. Walker and lawmakers to get serious about the looming deficit in the state’s transportation fund. After refusing to look at new revenue sources and relying on costly borrowing to fund road projects in the last three state budgets, Republicans are once again signaling their intention to reject a long-term fix.
“Potholes, traffic delays and safety hazards are taking their toll on Wisconsin motorists,” said Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse). “While I’m glad that we’re talking about our state’s infrastructure needs, I’m concerned the discussions between Gov. Walker and Senate Republicans indicate another painful round of project delays, layoffs and uncertainty.”
Gov. Walker has directed his Transportation Secretary to delay additional projects and rely more heavily on short-term borrowing rather than generating new revenue to keep up with demand. Senate Republicans have echoed the Governor’s position of “No New Revenue” which is expected to result in additional construction layoffs, traffic congestion and economic uncertainty.
“Safe and reliable roads, bridges and highways play an important role in our state’s economic growth and stability,” said Shilling. “Everyone knows our transportation network is in dire need of repairs and modern upgrades. What we need now are leaders who are willing to step up, make the tough decisions and just fix it.”
Investing in infrastructure is one of the key priorities laid out by Senate Democrats in the Badger Blueprint plan. Democratic efforts to generate additional revenue and ensure long-term funding stability were rejected by Gov. Walker and the majority party in the 2015-17 budget. Despite promises to introduce a plan of their own, Senate Republicans have yet to provide any details on how they will address the transportation funding shortfall.
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